To get the most out of your windows, doors, and skylights, have them installed by trained professionals according to manufacturer instructions. Otherwise, your warranty may be void. When hiring a contractor, interview candidates and ask for references. If installation requires scraping lead-based paint, be sure to take proper precautions.
When building a new home, or planning a major addition, consider this: orienting windows to the south and using roof overhangs can help reduce energy use by providing shade from the sun in the summer and solar heat gain in the winter. Overhangs are much less effective against the lower angles of the east and west sun, therefore reducing the size and number or east and west facing windows can help reduce energy use.
Strategically planting deciduous tress near south, east, and west-facing windows will provide needed shade in the summer, but let in the sun's heat during the winter.
If you add up all of the hidden air leaks in your home, they can equal a hole the size of an open window! To maximize home efficiency, seal all the gaps where air can leak in or out, including those around windows, doors, wiring holes, recessed lights, plumbing vents, your attic hatch, and more. Stopping drafts can make you feel more comfortable and reduce energy bills.